WORD

WORD, in the Bible, primarily renders the Hebrew davar, but also omer (pl. amarim), imrah, and peh (lit. "mouth"). "The word of the Lord," an oft–recurring scriptural phrase, signifies a divine communication to man that reveals God's character or His will, as in Isaiah 50:4ff. This revelation can assume many forms, such as oracles (e.g., Judg. 20:18ff.), visions (e.g., Amos 7:1ff.), and dreams (e.g., Gen. 15:12ff.), as well as prophecy and religious teaching in general, including the divinely given laws. In the broadest sense, the Scriptures taken as a whole, and subsequently the totality of Jewish spiritual teaching, fall within the connotation of God's word. In certain biblical passages, the divine word is personified, e.g., "So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, except it accomplish that which I please, and make the thing whereto I sent it prosper" (Isa. 55:11; cf. also Ps. 33:6; 147:15). This biblical feature has antecedents in Sumerian and Babylonian literature, where the "word" is an agent of the gods' beneficence, but more especially of their wrath. In wisdom literature this process of hypostatization becomes even more marked, only ḥokhmah ("Wisdom") is substituted for the divine word, to which it is closely related ideologically (e.g., Prov. 8:1ff.; 9:1–6; Job 28:12–28). However, throughout the Hebrew Bible the figurative character of the personification is never in doubt. A further stage in the evolution of the concept of the divine word is reached in apocryphal and rabbinic literature. Here the Word emerges as a distinct entity (cf. Wis. 18:15; Mekh., Be-Shallaḥ, 10; Avot 5:1). Furthermore, there arose a negative attitude toward the attribution to God of any anthropomorphic characteristics or the use of language that appeared to detract from the divine dignity. To avoid anthropomorphisms, the Targum employs the memra ("utterance"). For example, Deuteronomy 1:32 is rendered, "… ye have not believed in the memra of the Lord." Thus the memra connotes the manifestation of God's power in creating the world and in directing history. It acts as His messenger and is generally analogous to the Shekhinah ("Divine Presence") and the Divine Wisdom. New and fateful significance was given to the Word by Philo's doctrine of the Logos (the Greek term means both "word" and "reason"). On the one hand, Philo borrowed some of his ideas from the Stoics (Logos as the active and vivifying principle of the universe), who in turn are indebted to Heraclitus ("the dividing Logos," which creates by the fusion of contrasts); he was also influenced by Plato's "theory of ideas." On the other hand, Philo's Logos is rooted in the biblical idea of the creative word of God, the Targum's memra, the mystical concepts of the merkavah ("divine chariot"), the Shekhinah, the name of God, and the names of the angels. The multi-faceted character of the Logos is reflected in the many metaphorical epithets applied to it by Philo: "divine thought," "the image of God," "the firstborn son," "the archpriest," "the paraclete of humanity." Philo paved the way for later Christian theology. In the prologue to John's Gospel (1:14) this is carried farther, and "the Word made flesh" is identified with Jesus. Philo's Logos is no more than an "archangel of many names," the rational principle in the divine nature, the creative mediator between God – the One who is all-perfect and all-good – and the world of matter, which is inherently evil; but the Johannine Logos is a separate divine entity. At this stage the Word created an impossible gulf between Judaism and its daughter faith. (Israel Abrahams)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • word — [OE] Word and verb are closely related. Both go back ultimately to the Indo European base *wer ‘speak, say’, which also produced Greek rhétōr ‘public speaker’ (source of English rhetoric), Latvian vārds ‘word’, and Lithuanian vardas ‘name’. Its… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • Word — Word, n. [AS. word; akin to OFries. & OS. word, D. woord, G. wort, Icel. or[eth], Sw. & Dan. ord, Goth. wa[ u]rd, OPruss. wirds, Lith. vardas a name, L. verbum a word; or perhaps to Gr. rh twr an orator. Cf. {Verb}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The spoken… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Word Up! — «Word Up!» Сингл Cameo из альбома Word Up! Выпущен …   Википедия

  • word — ► NOUN 1) a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used to form sentences with others. 2) a remark or statement. 3) (a word) even the smallest amount of something spoken or written: don t believe a word. 4) (words) angry talk.… …   English terms dictionary

  • word — [wʉrd] n. [ME < OE, akin to Ger wort < IE * werdh (extension of base * wer , to speak, say) > Gr eirein, to speak, L verbum, word] 1. a) a speech sound, or series of them, serving to communicate meaning and consisting of at least one… …   English World dictionary

  • word — O.E. word speech, talk, utterance, word, from P.Gmc. *wurdan (Cf. O.S., O.Fris. word, Du. woord, O.H.G., Ger. wort, O.N. orð, Goth. waurd), from PIE *were speak, say (see VERB (Cf. verb)). The meaning promise was in O.E., as …   Etymology dictionary

  • Word — (zumeist von engl. word „Wort“) steht für eine Textverarbeitungssoftware von Microsoft, siehe Microsoft Word ein Datenwort, die Grundverarbeitungsdatengröße bei einem Computer die Bekräftigung oder Zustimmung (zu) einer vorangegangenen Aussage,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • word — [n1] discussion chat, chitchat*, colloquy, confab*, confabulation, consultation, conversation, discussion, talk, tête è tête; concept 56 Ant. silence word [n2] statement account, adage, advice, announcement, bulletin, byword, comment,… …   New thesaurus

  • Word Up — may refer to:*Word Up!, a 1986 R B album by Cameo **Word Up!, a song on the above album, also covered by Gun, Melanie B and Korn *Word Up!, a slang phrase, usually an exclamation or interjection *Word Up, computer pub game, popular in the UK… …   Wikipedia

  • Word — Word, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Worded}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Wording}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To express in words; to phrase. [1913 Webster] The apology for the king is the same, but worded with greater deference to that great prince. Addison. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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